New Canaan’s of­fer to buy Val­ley Road house re­jected

Build­ing to re­main stand­ing un­der Nor­walk man­age­ment

Stamford Advocate (Sunday) - - News - By Hum­berto J. Rocha hum­berto.juarez@hearst­medi­

CANAAN — Town of­fi­cials of­fered to pay $250,000 — when the First Tax­ing Dis­trict of Nor­walk asked for $900,000 — for the 1124 Val­ley Road house and the 0.83-acre par­cel where it stands.

That fig­ure, un­sur­pris­ingly, didn’t cut it for the com­mis­sion­ers of the neigh­bor­ing city.

At the First Dis­trict’s board of com­mis­sion­ers meet­ing, the com­mis­sion­ers voted to deny New Canaan’s of­fer. First Select­man Kevin Moyni­han at­tended the meet­ing.

New Canaan’s top elected of­fi­cial didn’t give a def­i­nite an­swer if ne­go­ti­a­tions had reached a con­clu­sion, as he still had to talk with preser­va­tion groups, mainly the New Canaan Land Trust. How­ever, he said the house would re­main stand­ing.

“(The First Tax­ing Dis­trict) said they plan to have a care­taker live in the house for now and then pos­si­bly use it as an of­fice when they use the ad­ja­cent reser­voir prop­erty for work, in con­junc­tion with re­build­ing their dam and ren­o­vat­ing their wa­ter treat­ment fa­cil­ity at 270 Val­ley Road,” Moyni­han said.

Do­minick DiGangi, gen­eral man­ager of the First Tax­ing Dis­trict, con­firmed one of the dis­trict’s em­ploy­ees would main­tain the house. When asked if talks between Nor­walk and New Canaan had reached a con­clu­sion, DiGangi said he didn’t know and re­ferred to the com­mis­sion’s for­mal de­nial of New Canaan’s of­fer.

The back-and-forth saga between New Canaan and Nor­walk of­fi­cials has been go­ing on for the past seven months. This in­cluded a Free­dom of In­for­ma­tion re­quest filed by Moyni­han with the neigh­bor­ing mu­nic­i­pal­ity, as well as float­ing the threat of en­act­ing em­i­nent do­main to seize the prop­erty.

The tax­ing dis­trict orig­i­nally filed the de­mo­li­tion per­mit in mid-Fe­bru­ary; a 90-day de­mo­li­tion de­lay was en­acted by New Canaan’s His­toric Re­view Com­mit­tee shortly there­after.

Dur­ing that time frame, preser­va­tion­ist groups in town re­acted swiftly to halt the de­mo­li­tion.

Town of­fi­cials and preser­va­tion­ists can claim a win on their orig­i­nal goal — pres­sur­ing Nor­walk to with­draw the de­mo­li­tion per­mit for the house. Fur­ther ef­forts to pur­chase ei­ther the en­tire 4-acre prop­erty or the 0.83-acre par­cel with the house, how­ever, were in vain.

Chris Schip­per, a mem­ber of the New Canaan Land Trust, said the preser­va­tion group was “dis­ap­pointed” with Nor­walk’s de­ci­sion, but hoped the house would be pre­served in its present state.

“We are grate­ful for the First (Tax­ing) Dis­trict for their de­ci­sion to with­draw their de­mo­li­tion re­quest,” Schip­per said. “Pend­ing fi­nal res­o­lu­tion, we re­spect­fully re­quest that the First Dis­trict Wa­ter De­part­ment main­tain the house and grounds to a stan­dard be­fit­ting the neigh­borNEW hood and its his­toric value.”

Hum­berto J. Rocha / Hearst Con­necti­cut Me­dia

1124 Val­ley Road house in New Canaan.

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